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In the 1950s, when every teenager wore standard-issue Levi's, futurists predicted that by 2010 we would all drive flying cars and wear polyester jumpsuits like those seen on Star Trek and Logan's Run. Look around, take a mental snapshot, and be thankful. Denim is enjoying a renaissance. Due in part to our casual culture and an explosion of niche brands, denim is now the go-to fabric for just about every occasion. Yes, the quest for that perfect pair of jeans in the perfect cut and perfect wash has become far more challenging than when Levi's ruled supreme. The abundance of quality and style options for jeans today can make your head spin. So, in the mutual interests of spin reduction and our support for local shopping, check out these options.

BEST DISTRESS: The AG Protégé/6-years jean is more than a great denim find. These are jeans with the look of years of wear. With AG's signature aging and distressing process, no two pairs of jeans in this collection are exactly alike. Each pair is perfectly worn-in without the telltale signs of being worn out. Fans of AG denim include Usher and New England's favorite son, Tom Brady. $235 at Oak Hall, 6150 Poplar, oakhall.com, 761-3580.

(Don't miss the VK Nagrani trunk show on Dec. 5th and holiday event on Dec. 6th.)

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GIANT LEAP FOR WOMANKIND: The classic "A" pocket stitching from 7 For All Mankind has gained fans worldwide, among them a wide range of starlets. "7" loyalists include everyone from 5'-1" Hayden Panettiere to 5'-10" Blake Lively, and that range in size says a lot about their power to flatter. This style takes the classic "A" shape one step further with a flap-close back pocket and a bit of stretch (yea!). $198 at Lansky's 126 (yes, that Lansky's — clothier to the King), in the Peabody, 405-7625.

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DIESEL POWERED: Just as certain car owners swear by German engineering, members of the Diesel faithful claim to be converts for life. Deisel jeans are favored by denim bloggers (yes, there actually are people who blog about denim) and a diverse cross-sampling of Hollywood types such as Zac Efron and Guy Ritchie (better known as Madonna's ex). As with all Diesel jeans, expect some killer details and a great back pocket. $195 at Baer's Den, 400 Perkins Ext., 684-600.

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HIGH TIMES: Jeans from Citizens of Humanity also can be seen hanging from the hipbones of stylish young Hollywood types. Jennifer Garner is so devoted that she even wore the maternity version. According to Jamie Yarbrough of Ella, there's good reason for the devotion: Citizens creates a denim line with enough diversity to accommodate most body types. The Pierre Hutton cut (pictured) with small patch pockets in front, CoH signature stitching in back, higher waist, 2 percent stretch, and wide legs has generated rave reviews. $229 at Ella, 3080 Poplar, 507-0507.

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LIKE A PRAYER: After our reference to Guy Ritchie above, we'd be remiss not to mention that True Religion is reportedly the jean of choice of Madonna's new squeeze, Yankee third-baseman Alex Rodriguez, and, according to Hitwise, A-Rod isn't alone in his affection for the signature back pocket. True Religion is the most searched for denim brand on the Web. The love is well-deserved, as there's no denying that True Religion's signature stitching is both recognizable and flattering. The Bobby Rainbow, $284, at James Davis, 400 S. Grove Park, Laurelwood, jamesdavisstore.com, 767-4640.

(Ladies, don't miss the Lafayette 148 Trunk Show, December 2nd-3rd.)

Shop This is compiled by Shopgirl. E-mail shopgirl@memphisflyer.com with tips and suggestions for items to be promoted. Please send a daytime phone number and print-quality digital images for consideration.


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